2 min read
May 13, 2014 11:00:02 PM
The headwaters of Israel’s Yarkon River form near ancient Tel Aphek (Antipatris) and flow westward until they surrender to the Mediterranean Sea at Tel Aviv.
(Photo: Tel Aviv and the Yarkon River. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)
Modern travelers who make their way along Israel’s coastal highway cross a bridge that carries them over the Yarkon River. But it wasn’t so in antiquity.
In biblical days, the Yarkon River was simply in the way. It forced a detour that gave strategic value to one site.
Significant biblical events occurred there that today most visitors miss.
For millennia the Yarkon River funneled all traffic on the ancient International Highway eastward and inland. Tel Aphek sat waiting for them.
(Photo: Tel Aphek’s view of the headwaters of Yarkon River. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)
Aphek guarded all traffic north and south, giving the city a commanding position for centuries. Biblical history at Aphek includes:
(Map courtesy of Satellite Bible Atlas)
A number of significant finds have been unearthed at Tel Aphek/Antipatris:
Where battles and soldiers once raged and roamed, today the Yarkon River Park provides hundreds of acres that follow alongside the river and offer tranquility and activity for Tel Aviv visitors.
(Photo: Boats to rent on the Yarkon River. By צילום:ד”ר אבישי טייכר CC-BY-2.5, via Wikimedia Commons)
Crossing the Yarkon River is easy today, thanks to a bridge that shortcuts where the ancients traveled. But that bridge bypasses significant history that occurred inland.
Sometimes it’s beneficial—and beautiful—to take the long way.
Tell me what you think: If you ever crossed the Yarkon River, did you notice it? To leave a comment, just click here.
You’ll find these sites and more in a book I wrote for the Israel Ministry of Tourism, 100 Off-The-Beaten-Path Sites. You can download a free copy.
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